|Photo of Wallowa Mountains up Joseph Creek|
Since I kick off the month at Romancing the Genres this month’s topic is a bit early but Labor Day weekends were our final summer fling when I was growing up.
We lived two and a half miles up the county road out of Lostine. This road continued another ten miles beyond us to end in the heart of the Wallowa Mountains. Many nature seekers; backpackers, horse packers, fishermen traveled the road in the summer months to get to the base of the trails taking them farther into the mountains and to the high lakes.
We always went camping on Labor Day weekend and didn’t have to deal with highway traffic. We’d load up the tents and camp gear on Wednesday evening and head up the river to a spot that wasn’t a real campground but was flat and near the river. We’d set up tents and chairs and make it look like someone was camped then head home until my parents got off work on Friday night. Then my brothers and I and mom and dad would head up and shortly my mom’s best friend, a divorced woman with five boys would arrive with tents and a small camper and some years there would be another family from the clinic where my mom and her friend worked that might join us.
The weekend was spent wading in the water, walking through the forest, or for me, reading in the great outdoors. Because my dad was a little league coach and my brothers as well as three of the Thompson boys were on his teams over the years we always had one game of baseball, using whatever we could find for bases. Dad always was the umpire/catcher. The year someone threw the ball to home and it glanced off the garbage can lid and gave my dad a black eye was the last time we played baseball at camp.
|Photo of Eagle Cap Wilderness taken from my Dad's|
One summer, when I was twelve or thirteen, we hauled the horses( one for mom, one for my younger brother, one for my dad, and a pack horse) to the end of the road. My older brother and I and my brand new dachshund puppy walked(I carried the puppy most of the way) the five miles up the trail to Minam Lake. It was a beautiful lake. Crystal clear water, abundant grass and forest around it. When we woke the next morning, there was two inches of snow and it was still coming down. We ate a quick breakfast and headed down the mountain. Two days later the horse my mom was riding was found dead in the pasture. The mare was over 30 years old.
While our kids were young we always made it a point to go to Lostine and camp with my family on Labor Day weekend. Since my mom passed away nearly twenty years ago, the Labor Day campouts discontinued. Now with our kids spread out, we usually spend the weekend and week after at Princeton. The Harney county fair is that week so we work on the place and attend the small town county fair.
Do you have good memories of Labor Day Weekend?
Photos taken by: Paty Jager